We scored our first look at Android 4.3 earlier this week. While we didn’t see too much that thrilled us, word of a new hidden Permissions Manager that lets you set individual app permissions has our interest piqued. The power to control each app’s granular permissions is a huge boost to privacy and security.
The new Permissions Manager, called “App Ops” in the version that Android Police tore down (link below), allows you to toggle every discrete set of permissions that an app wants to access: location, read contacts, modify contacts, vibrate and so on. They report it’s well hidden in the settings, but not impossible to get to — possibly because it’s not completely ready yet. Regardless, they tested it, and it works. (Also, someone’s even made an app that launches it directly, although it requires Android 4.3 to work.)
Of course, with power comes responsibility. Expect to hear horror stories about users who disabled a specific permission set only to have their favourite apps blow up on them. At the same time, developers will likely start defining and describing the permissions their apps need to function in much greater detail now that anyone can turn some of them off with a single tap.
We can’t get it until we get our hands on Android 4.3, but if you can’t wait, check out our guide to Android permissions. Inside, we offer up a few apps that give you the same level of control.